Friday, March 17, 2006

The Canal

The distinguishing landmark of Tirana is the canal that runs through the middle of it. It's known for its unmistakable smell since a lot of sewage runs off into it. If I could put it on a scratch and sniff sticker and send it to you all, I would! The other humorous? part of this scenario is that it's where the majority of Tirana's men choose to relieve themselves. It's humorous because the road that runs parallel with it (properly named "the ring road", as it's similar to the Campus Loop) is one of the most busy roads in Tirana, and they are right out in the open doing their business. One of my friends even saw someone pop a squat the other day. Another interesting aspect is that there are public restrooms here, but since you have to pay the equivalent of about 20 cents. However, I can't really blame them because I know the conditions there CAN'T be pretty. I guess stage fright is not an issue for them!

Snot rocket

Who is with me that blowing snot rockets should be illegal?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Going for a visit

Albanians are very warm, hospitable, social people. I love that they are very affectionate and loyal. When you go for a visit to an Albanian, you have to take something with you like a kilo of fruit, something sweet, a fruit juice or a bottle of Cola. You have to greet in this order: men first in order of age, then women in order of age, then children. They'll ask you how you are in about 4 different ways, and you're supposed to answer "Good" no matter how you're really doing. Then you can set into normal conversation. You always have to have something in your house ready for guests because it's "turp" (shameful) if you don't. And you never serve what people just brought to you. If you know guests are coming, you usually pull out al the stops (put on the dog, as those southerners say I guess). My outgoing, hospitable personality goes well here!


The streetcleaners here are gypsy ladies with brooms made of twigs! Just a glimpse of my daily giggles!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Watch out for the manholes!

Two of my team members have fallen into a manhole while walking within the past few weeks! And another friend fell into one while riding his bicycle (slowly, praise the Lord!) and his bicycle literally snapped in two! The "iron"y of it is that the gypsies "steel" all the manhole covers to cash in for a pettance and then the government has to go buy them back! So there are rarely covers on the manholes here, which causes you to have a bit more focus when you walk or ride your bike, or the bus (I also saw a man step off the bus directly into a manhole and had to have help getting out!) . Just another one of the daily challenges of living in Albania! :)

Friday, March 03, 2006

TWO years today!

Today is the two year anniversary of getting on the plane to come to Albania! I arrived on March 4th and set out on my new adventure. It's been tiresome and hard at times, but to be honest I wouldn't trade it for the world! God has taught me so much about trusting Him because He's stripped me of all the comforts I could possibly rely on instead of Him! I just talked to my friend AMI at NUMC, and I was shaking because I was so excited just thinking about seeing all my fam again! I love you guys so much and have missed you in ways I can't even describe. Thank you all for being a part of it. May God get ALL the glory!